Bad Theater Behavior

#1Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 12:06pm

Is it just me or has behavior at live theater events really gone down hill in the last couple of months. I am in my forties and see a ton of theater, at least 2 to 3 shows a week. I was at Cinderella last night with a ton of kids. Kids were all perfectly well behaved. It was the adults who were the distractions. Between taking pictures during the show, talking, opening loud plastic bags and texting. One rude lady behind me decided to open her plastic bag full of candy 5 minutes into the second act. Why not open it, get out what you want and have it ready DURING intermission. Also was at Rocky third preview in Golden Circle and some jerk filmed the entire fight scene. Similar thing happened at the first preview of Aladdin.

Are you telling me your comments cannot wait for an applause break, that the text cannot wait until intermission. That your memory of the show is not good enough, you need to film it? That you are not smart enough to get out your snack and have it ready? Has it really gotten this bad? Sorry to vent, it has just become very frustrating as of late.

The actors are working hard to put on a show for you, sit back, TURN OFF and put AWAY the phone, open your snack before the show, be courteous and give them your full attention. Is that really too much to ask?

nealb1 Profile Photo
#2Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 12:55pm

It's amazing how clueless and self-centered people are. I hope that when you are in these situations, you are able to put an end to it, and tell them to put their phone away, put their candy away, etc.
I feel very empowered when I've done it.

#3Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 1:03pm

only when correcting the situation does not cause more of a disturbance. I like to wait until intermission and then talk loudly about the rude person. I have gotten some interesting looks over the years. But I got my point across.

LizzieCurry Profile Photo
#4Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 1:07pm

Don't be passive-aggressive. Just be aggressive. It almost always works for me, but maybe it's because no one expects a petite Asian woman to be confrontational.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt

#5Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 1:14pm

I have said things, put my hand over (NOT TOUCHING)someones cell phone and told them it can wait until intermission, please, turn it off. It depends on the situation. As I stated sometimes correcting the situation would be more distracting. Especially with my potty mouth. I am not always the nice 40 something lady you would expect me to be.

#6Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 1:27pm

I've been at shows where during a very intimate part someone decides to start with the crinkly candy bag. If it's for a second, no one says anything, but if it continues the offending party will get a hearty "SHHHH!" with everyone turning around in their direction. This usually stops the behavior quickly with the least amount of interference.

At "The Happiest Song Plays Last", during one of the most poignant scenes of the show (of which you do NOT want any kind of interruption), someone's cell phone went off. As usual!! It sounded like it was in their bag so it was a bit muffled but noticeable. Please use airplane mode if you don't want to turn the unit all the way off, especially for a play.

Updated On: 3/5/14 at 01:27 PM

Demitri2 Profile Photo
#7Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 2:19pm

Gee maybe it's CINDERELLA. I opted for premium seats and witnessed the worst behavior I'd ever seen in the theatre. The woman right next to me was texting throughout the first act. I opened my Playbill and placed it as close to her damn phone as I could but she couldn't have cared less. The usher took care of the situation during intermission since anything I said to her wouldn't have mattered.

But worse than this was a woman sitting next to my partner who had smuggled in an order of McDonald french fries in her pocketbook. She continued to slowly devour her snack throughout the first act. There was an extremely offensive stench of old cooking oil that hovered over our area that couldn't be ignored. It was truly nauseating to have to sit through.

Lastly, during the entire first act a woman nearby insisted on video taping the show. After threatening to confiscate the woman's camera if she didn't stop, I had the opportunity to speak with the house manager during intermission. He said he had been called down from his office after being alerted by cast members about this woman's behavior. Not sure where the ushers were since you could easily see the lit screen of her camera. Anyways, audience behavior has definitely changed in recent times. I'm hoping it's possibly better at straight plays. But overall I did enjoy CINDERELLA and thought the sets and costumes were remarkable.

nealb1 Profile Photo
#8Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 2:43pm

Fries during the show? Good Lord! Did you not say anything to her?

Yes, there's definately a right way to correct a bad situation. Last year when I saw "Pippin," the dumb dude right behind me decided that at the top of Act 2 was the perfect time to start eating his peanut M&M's. During a short pause in the music, I turned around to him and asked, "Why didn't you eat your snack during intermission? You're disturbing everyone around you." He and his female friend left right after that.

#9Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 3:08pm

"He and his female friend left right after that."

Wow, what a t**t. Paid for two tickets, annoyed the audience with his snacking yet was so surprised that someone called him out on his bad behavior that he chose to miss the rest of the show. Good for you for speaking up, that chewing must have been horrendous to sit through.

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Phantom of London
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:01pm

You shouldn't have hot food in a theatre, because as the foodis heated, it does give off that horrible stench. which I completely agree with, that such food shouldn't be eaten in the theatre. BUT I had a couple of people tut and another couple shake their heads, when I started eating some take out sushi which is cold and doesn't give off a smell, I got reported to an usher and they threatened to eject me, I informed the usher, that I had finished and apoligised in the interval, this happened during Romeo and Julliet four months ago, people need to get over themselfs, Sushi does not give off an aroma as it is cold, I cannot believe how I was treated!

binau Profile Photo
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:06pm

I also had a bad time at Cinderella. This woman had two children with her, one maybe 2.5 and the other maybe 4. During the first act it was all good - during the second act the younger one was crying, grabbing seats, talking - and the mother wasn't doing anything!! I wanted to punch that child and her mother in the face. Completely killed the second act for me. It bothered me so much that I did complain to the House Manager because I thought they didn't let children under 4 - turns out they are 'flexible'. He was pretty nice and offered to comp me another performance but alas I didn't have any time/slots left.

"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

LizzieCurry Profile Photo
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:17pm

Sushi does not give off an aroma as it is cold


"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt

#13Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:17pm

@ Phantom Of London, I suppose you eat your dinner on the subway also. and you are kidding yourself if you think sushi does not smell. Food other than snacks should not be eaten in the theater period. Wow what a tool.

You re there to see a show not eat.

Wanna eat during a show try Dinner Theater.

Updated On: 3/5/14 at 04:17 PM

tazber Profile Photo
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:37pm

When deciding what to say, just remember you never know who carries a gun these days.

Or how prone to using it they are.

....but the world goes 'round
Updated On: 3/5/14 at 04:37 PM

nealb1 Profile Photo
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:39pm

Thanks, Rainbowhigh23. I'm constantly amazed how clueless some people are when it comes to common sense behavior.

Sutton Ross Profile Photo
Sutton Ross
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:42pm

"I started eating some take out sushi which is cold and doesn't give off a smell"

This isn't dinner theater, a restaurant, the sidewalk, your home, an airplane, an alley, or the park, dude. Don't EVER eat food in a theater, it's f*cking obnoxious and I am so glad people called you out on it. Sushi doesn't have a smell? Jesus Christ. Luckily, for us who respect the cast, crew, and other patrons, food at your seat isn't allowed in most theaters I have attended in New York.

Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:53pm

At Rocky, there was a couple directly behind my boyfriend that was catching his eye. The woman was texting most of the first act. He asked her to put the phone away and the boyfriend started yelling (the show was still going on). He goes, WHAT DID YOU SAY? TURN AROUND AND WATCH THE MOVIE. Classy people.

#18Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 4:57pm

Similar thing with my boyfriend at Aladdin. The ushers got involved and almost through out the other guy and his date.

#19Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 5:18pm

"When deciding what to say, just remember you never know who carries a gun these days. "

Talk about Bullets Over Broadway!!! LOL

Because everyone who goes to a Broadway show is packing heat and is going to shoot a nice lady for asking them to stop doing something they should not be doing anyway.

SweetLips Profile Photo
#20Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 5:54pm

Cell/mobile phones in theatres aren't such as big a problem in my local theatres as they seem to be as mentioned here-I never see txting,just hear a very occasional ring.A lot of new audiences[my thoughts] were not introduced to theatre as children via pantomines and learn as they grow up mannerly theatre behaviour[this applies to life in general-the lack of manners and respect of others].Reality TV and audience behaviour is encouraged to be loud,excessive,participate and that over reactive behaviour seems to be carried into the theatre where the audience is not prepared to sit quietly and experience the show but want to behave as if they are in their TV room,obey their own rules and actually call attention to themselves as THEY are the show.The anticipated excitement of waiting for the lights to dim and actually listening to the overture begins the pure magic of theatre.I do blame TV for the 3min.attention span,lack of discipline and self control and thoughtlessness[?] to others--it is becomming a very ME world-I tried to change it to please me[selfish I know]but now no longer try.

nealb1 Profile Photo
#21Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 6:09pm

Several years ago here in LA when seeing Celine Dion on concert, the couple behind us wouldn't stop talking throughout the entire concert. After asking them to please be quiet several times, he got very hostile - trying to impress his gf that he's THE MAN. I got up, told an usher what was going on, and Security came over to them.
He got more irate, and they removed them from the arena. There comes a point where enough is enough.

perfectlymarvelous Profile Photo
#22Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 7:15pm

I got a rush seat for All the Way on Sunday and was in the 4th row of the orchestra over to the side. There was a woman in the row in front of me but further in towards the center who was on her cell phone during intermission and then ignored the ushers when they came around asking everyone to turn off their cell phones for the start of act 2 and proceeded to browse on her phone for a good portion of the second act. It was incredibly distracting, and if I had been closer to her seat I probably would have said something. The thing I really don't understand about people talking/eating/texting through a play or a movie is the fact that it is so expensive to see a show or a movie (especially in the city, tickets are up to $14/$14.50 in Manhattan for a movie)...if you've paid that much money, why on earth are you sitting there completely ignoring what's going on in front of you? You may as well stay home in your pajamas.

GavestonPS Profile Photo
#23Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 7:31pm

Without defending any of the misbehavior itemized above (none of which I would engage in myself), is it possible our musical theater actually encourages bad behavior?

We upped the amps to deafening levels, to point where in many shows the voices seem to come not from the characters but from everywhere in the house. We've computerized sets and lights to the point were they change as mechanically as if we were watching a film. (And let's don't even get into the types of stories we adapt for large-scale shows.)

And now we cater to patrons by letting them take their drinks and food to their seats. (!)

Is it really a wonder that some patrons behave as if they were in a movie theater or at home watching TV?

promisespromises2 Profile Photo
#24Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 7:40pm

I have to say, I experience more bad behavior when I see Broadway shows then when I see regional shows (DC/Maryland area). But that may be because every regional show I've been too, I'm the only under 30 person there, haha.

I REALLY do not think you should be allowed food of any type in the theatre unless it's the snacks they provide (which I still do not like the idea of). I'm fine with drinks (although I'm the clumsiest person alive).

The most disturbing occurrences to me are when people laugh at extremely inappropriate times.

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Matt Rogers
#25Bad Theater Behavior
Posted: 3/5/14 at 8:09pm

To the petite woman above who likes to get aggressive in these situations, I would just say to be very careful. The below is a true story.

A few years ago, I was at a movie and these two idiots (one man, one woman) would not shut up. There was a petite woman in front of them and after enduring the blabbering for at least 30 minutes, she turned around and very agressively told them to shut the hell up. Before I could think "good for you", the female idiot got up, charged into the petite woman's aisle and punched her right in the face. Super hard.

Chaos ensued. Police were called. The good news was that the movie sucked and everyone got a free pass to a future movie.

The moral of this story is that confronting a jerk rarely ends well and could result in assault. Do yourself a favor and don't ruin your expensive night on Broadway. Get an usher or house manager and make them do the job they are paid to do.